Michigan State Police officers confront the crowd protesting against the so-called right-to-work legislation outside the Capitol in Lansing.
Riot police in the US state of Michigan have encountered thousands of angry protesters at the state’s Capitol, resorting to pepper spray to disperse the crowd rallying against the controversial right-to-work law.
Nearly 13,000 protesters, according to police estimates, descended on the legislative building on Tuesday to protest the passage of the bill earlier in the day by the state’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
Meanwhile, state troopers in riot gear confronted demonstrators, using pepper spray on a number of them, including a former Democratic lawmaker, local press reports said.
Mark Schauer, who previously represented the state in the US Congress, told a local news outlet that he was among those pepper sprayed by riot police while protesting against what many in the state regard as an anti-union legislation.
Moreover, two protesters were reportedly detained by police officers at the rally after Michigan’s Republican governor signed the highly controversial bill into law in a state that was long considered a stronghold of labor unions.
The new legislation prohibits mandatory union membership, which would mean that private sector workers will receive similar wages and benefits as union members even without paying union dues.
Opponents of the bill argue that it is designed to undermine the unions and lower worker’s compensations and benefits. Its passage represents a major defeat for organized labor in America.